The Stanley Cup Playoffs could be held entirely north of the border this year.
Toronto and Edmonton will serve as the NHL's two hub cities "barring any last-minute complications," TSN's Bob McKenzie reported Wednesday.
As McKenzie notes, complications are not uncommon in this process. Vancouver, one of the final six teams in the running, bowed out last week. Las Vegas had also long been thought to be a front-runner. However, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said recently that the league will weigh "every relevant consideration" before deciding where to resume its season following a recent spike in COVID-19 cases across the U.S.
If it's made official, the Eastern Conference would play in Toronto and the Western Conference would go to Edmonton, according to The Athletic's Michael Russo. At one point, the league reportedly didn't want a team playing in its own hub city to avoid giving that club any advantage.
In Toronto, all players would stay in a 40-acre campus-like village on the grounds of Exhibition Place, which includes Toronto FC's BMO Field, the Toronto Raptors' OVO Athletic Centre, the Toronto Marlies' Coca-Cola Coliseum, and the 404-room Hotel X. Russo notes the hotel is not big enough to hold all 12 teams and their support staff, so the bubble may extend into a downtown hotel.
In Edmonton, there would be a multiple-block bubble that includes the JW Marriott hotel, the Sutton Place Hotel, Rogers Arena, and its accompanying practice facility. A wall would literally be built around the bubble, sources told Russo.
There are still many details to sort out before the league reveals its hub cities.
"Right now, the National Hockey League and National Hockey League Players' Association do not look as though they are going to announce the identity of the hub cities until they've got the entire return-to-play protocol and a new CBA all agreed to, at least pending player approval," McKenzie said on Tuesday's edition of "Insider Trading."
It was reported last week that the NHL and NHLPA are nearing an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement to address the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.